Pillowy soft rolls are the perfect complement to any dinner. Learn the easiest way to shape even, uniform rolls and loaves from Test Kitchen Professional Pam Lolley.

By Southern Living Editors
Updated March 23, 2021

Homemade dinner rolls and loaves of bread will take any ordinary weeknight meal to the next level. While it takes some skill to get your bread recipe down to a science, it's a task that's worth your time since it will keep fresh bread on your table day after day. If you have a bread recipe you like to follow and are looking for how to create an impressive shape when it comes to preparing your loaves and rolls, look no further. Whether you're making them for a special occasion or just a casual Wednesday night dinner, there are some tips and tricks from Test Kitchen Professional Pam Lolley that will help you form the most perfect, pillowy soft rolls and loaves that will pull apart beautifully.

How to Shape Homemade Bread

To start, shape rolls by pinching off a piece of the dough. Gently start folding the dough under itself until you've got really nice little roll. It should be about the size of golf ball. You'll place that finished roll in a pan and repeat this process until you've gotten through all of your allotted dough. As you prepare each roll, continue to place in the pan. It's okay if the rolls are touching in the pan, as they'll pull apart easily after they're completed.

To shape a loaf, turn bread dough out onto a pastry mat and press it out. Once it's been pressed out, finish it off with the rolling pin and dust it with a little bit of flour to keep it from sticking. You'll want to roll the dough into an 18 inches long by 9 inches wide rectangle, but don't worry about it being perfectly shaped.

Start at the short end and begin rolling the dough as tight as you can. After you've rolled it, pinch the bottom seam together. You'll want to pinch the tops and fold them under slightly as well so the dough will fit in your bread pan. Next, you'll transfer the dough to the bread pan, placing the same side that was down on the pastry mat down in the pan. Once the dough has been placed in the pan, cover it with plastic wrap and let it go through the second rise before baking.